Video Shows Man Giving Snakes Robotic Legs Because "Nobody Loves Them Enough"

“150 million years of evolutionary mistakes reversed in a single day.”

Snakes are considered a generally misunderstood and unfairly maligned group of critters, but one man is showing appreciation for the slithery creatures. How? By "fixing" an evolutionary mistake that resulted in snakes not having legs. "When any other animal has deformed legs, humanity comes together to spit in God's face, and we build that animal awesome new cyborg legs," snake enthusiast Allen Pan says in a YouTube video called "giving snakes their legs back." "But nobody loves snakes enough to build them robot legs. Nobody except for me. Snake lover: Allen Pan." Here's what happened.

Why Don't Snakes Have Legs?

Allen Pan/YouTube

Pan based his observations on research from 2014, which showed that the cells meant to become a snake's hind legs instead resulted in the formation of a paired external penis, called a hemipenes. So a snake has two penises, but no legs. Fossils have been found of snakes with two firm back legs, but that was 95 million years ago. There have been no legged-snakes since then—scientists have theorized that perhaps legs would have prevented snakes from burrowing into the ground, so they evolved without them.

Pan To the Rescue

Allen Pan/YouTube

Pan's video is very tongue-in-cheek: "I actually feel bad for snakes! They lost their legs, and nobody is even trying to help them. No one but me." Pan then makes a series of prosthetic snake legs, before coming up with his final creation—which actually worked. The snake crawls into a tube, and the tube has legs attached.


Allen Pan/YouTube

"Now you can walk your snake like God [never] wanted you to," Pan says, before taking the snake on a walk with a leash. "I cannot believe that this worked," Pan says. "150 million years of evolutionary mistakes reversed in a single day." Pan's robotic snake prosthetic is entertaining, but clearly snakes evolved without legs for good reason and trying to "fix" that is pointless (if not harmful to snakes). 

What Did Snakes Evolve From?

Allen Pan/YouTube

At some point in ancient history, snakes were actually lizards. They had mouths with sharp teeth and the same skull mobility that allows snakes to swallow large prey
to this very day. One fossil shows these early snakes were found in the desert, and not just in the sea as was previously thought.

Legless Amphibians

Allen Pan/YouTube

Snakes are not the only land-based creatures that have evolved to not have legs: A group of creatures called caecilians look like worms but are actually amphibians, and can grow to nearly 5-foot-long. Caecilians have slimy skin that can be poisonous, to repel would-be predators. The species gives birth to live young who sometimes start eating their mothers' flesh from the inside. Nature is magical!

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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